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COVID-19 updates

In-person guidelines (July 2021 update)

There is nothing Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia takes more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls, volunteers and staff members. Here are updates about steps we are taking to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and comply with Gov. Ralph Northam’s  executive orders:

Gov. Ralph Northam on May 21 announced new measures to ease COVID-19 restrictions.  Girl Scouts promise to help other people at all times, so Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia is adjusting our guidelines for meetings and encouraging Girl Scout volunteers and families to use their best judgment. This guidance covers meetings and activities of troops and service units. 

Overview

Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia is offering in-person gatherings and allowing troops and service units to meet in person if they choose to do so.

In-person protocols

In-person events and activities sponsored by the council will follow these protocols until further notice:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask or physically distance. If vaccination status of the group is unknown, please ensure all participants are wearing a mask. 
  • Masking is required for all participants 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated. 
  • Although fully vaccinated persons do not need to wear masks, you can continue to wear a mask in support of others or for your own protection. 
  • Anytime a group gathers with individuals 12 and under, all participants should mask. 

If updates from sources such as the governor’s office, Centers for Disease Control or National Institutes of Health lead to changes in our evaluation of the situation, then GSCV will communicate via our website, help desk, S’more News digital newsletter or social media.

Council office and shop

Council Office and Shop are open for in-person business. We ask that you are aware of our mission as a youth serving organization and be prepared to wear a mask if there are girls who are present in the building.

Our shop is available in person, online and for curbside pick-up. The shop can be contacted at 804-746- 0590 ext. 343 or [email protected] 

Troop travel

Starting July 10, 2021, Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia will begin reviewing and approving requests by troops for day trips, overnights, and travel outside normal meeting locations.

Day trips

  • These guidelines work in conjunction with our Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • Attending in-person meetings or events is an individual decision that families must make for their girls.
  • The Troop Travel and High-Risk Activity Form should be submitted for any activity happening away from your normal meeting location. (Exception: This does not include activities happening on council-owned property.) The Troop Travel and High-Risk Activity Form should be turned in at least four weeks before the activity.
  • Additionally, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should wear a face mask, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
  • If your troop decides to take a day trip or participate in an activity away from your normal meeting place, then you are encouraged to plan outdoor activities over indoor activities. 

Food, Dining and Snacks

  • Be careful when handling and serving food and have girls be careful with each other when eating. Safety recommendations for food, dining and snacks include        
    • Encourage girls to bring their own foods to eat (bag lunch or dinner). 
    • Encourage girls not to share their food after having touched it, such as a bag of chips.
    • Individually wrapped items are recommended.
    • If providing snacks, especially if unwrapped, have one person, wearing gloves, hand out items to each person, such as with cupcakes or cookies. 
    • Use a serving spoon or scoop rather than reaching into a bag or bowl of snacks. 
    • Use a buffet line only if staffed with a safely protected server with mask and gloves. 
    • Avoid serve-yourself buffets. 
    • Public dining only as permitted in local jurisdiction. 
    • If serving family style, have one person, wearing clean gloves, serve everyone on clean plates. 
    • Use disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc. when possible.
    • Encourage girls to bring foods they can easily cook themselves (a prepacked foil pack) or hotdog for outdoor cooking. 
    • Ensure that everyone handling food, those serving, girls and adults wash their hands (even if they will be wearing gloves) before any food prep or meals, following CDC handwashing guidelines. 
    • Shared outdoor cooking utensils (roasting forks) should be washed and sanitized between each use or bring enough utensils so that each person gets their own. 
    • Continue recommendation for six-foot spacing during meals.

Overnight stays

  • Requests from troops for overnight travel and camping are now being accepted. Troops will be required to fill out the Troop Travel and High-Risk Activity Form at least 4 weeks prior to planned trip. 
Helpful documents
In-person troop meetings
  • Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors. 
  • Get advance permission from the owner of the location. 
  • Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time. 
  • For meetings at public facilities, ask the facility these questions in advance: 
    • Is the space cleaned and are touch surfaces (tabletops, light switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized at least daily? 
    • Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is the space cleaned between groups? 
    • What type of faucets and soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)? 
    • Does the facility follow CDC and state health department guidelines?

Transportation (carpooling)

It is imperative to take all safety precautions when girls are travelling in motor vehicles. If possible, girls from different households should not carpool. Coronavirus transmission risk is high when people are in proximity less than six feet apart. The risk increases when people are in a closed-in area or indoors for longer than 10 minutes. When transporting girls, always space out the girls to avoid crowding, have girls wear a mask, and keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation. Make sure parents are aware ahead of time if girls will be in a car together. Always, for every in-person event, meeting, or transportation arrangement, conduct the prescreening process to ensure that coronavirus does not touch Girl Scout gatherings. 

Here are additional guidelines for troops that decide to hold in-person meetings:
Pamunkey Ridge
  • Pamunkey Ridge Girl Scout Camp is available on a limited basis for troops that choose to meet in person. 
  • Troops can make reservations for Pamunkey Ridge by emailing [email protected] 
  • To complete your registration, please send a complete roster of all members/guests who will be in attendance. Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia will purchase additional insurance to cover non-members and will provide your group with a list of self-guided activities available on camp property.
Families
  • Attending in-person meetings or events is an individual decision that families must make for their girls. 
  • Parents should ensure their child does not have a fever or feel ill before coming to the in-person meeting.
Meeting space
  • Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors. 
  • Get advance permission from the owner of the location. 
  • Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time. 
  • For meetings at public facilities, ask the facility these questions in advance: 
    • Is the space cleaned and are touch surfaces (tabletops, light switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized at least daily? 
    • Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is the space cleaned between groups? 
    • What type of faucets and soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)? 
    • Does the facility follow CDC and state health department guidelines? 
  • Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist. 
  • GSUSA strongly recommends no meetings in private homes out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure.
Face masks
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask or physically distance. If vaccination status of the group is unknown, please ensure all participants are wearing a mask. 
  • Masking is required for all participants 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated. 
  • Although fully vaccinated persons do not need to wear masks, you can continue to wear a mask in support of others or for your own protection. 
  • Anytime an activity includes participants who are 12 and younger, masks should be worn.
Contact at in-person meetings
  • Have hand washing/sanitizing supplies available. Have everyone sanitize hands upon arrival, throughout (at least every 30 minutes) and just before leaving. 
  • Hugs, handshakes, high-fives and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Refrain from these gestures for the time being. 
  • Games and activities will need to be chosen to ensure physical contact is limited. 
  • Minimize the use of shared materials such as markers, scissors, etc. by having each girl provide her own box of items. This box can be carried to and from the meeting by the individual girl. If collected and stored in one location, each box should be wiped off with sanitizing wipe before being stored. 
  • If there are shared items, sanitize each item after each person uses it.
First aid supplies
  • Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol), tissues, disposable face masks and disinfectants. 
  • Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets or bags are easily accessible for girls.
Disinfecting
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (tabletops, markers, scissors, etc.). 
  • Use a household cleaner or see the EPA’s list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Reporting and communicating a positive COVID-19 test
  • In the event of a positive test result or contact with someone who has tested positive, do not contact the parents or troop members. 
  • Contact a GSCV staff member and the council staff member (not volunteers) will be responsible for taking the next steps.
 
Message from CEO Molly T. Fuller: We are here for you

Like many of you, I’m working remotely and find the change energizing and intense and perhaps the first opportunity in a while to slow down and reflect. I will quickly acknowledge that I do not have the additional consideration of children at home, so reflection may happen with more ease! I feel a great sense of pride when I think about the 108-year history of Girl Scouts, what was happening in the world and how Girl Scouts responded. We have risen to the occasion more than once — because we're Girl Scouts.

In this period of uncertainty and new challenges, please know that each of you has my personal respect and appreciation as well as that of our entire staff. You are incredible community leaders and deserve all of the acclaim possible for keeping focused on the needs and interests of girls, your family and so many other things. With the current varied demands, we recognize Girl Scouts may not be the top priority for some and yet for others it may be a source of comfort and familiarity in ever-changing times. In whatever space Girl Scout families find themselves, we are here to support you. 

We want your Girl Scout experience to be a source of fun, energy and meaningful interactions — even when we can't get together in person. Our council is finding our way in real time through the logistics of how to best support you, your girls and, hopefully, your family through programming events and activities and everything else that Girl Scouts offers our members. Our goal is to be responsive and find the best approach for the common good.

We are here for you. Please take care of yourself (easier said than done), have moments of lightness and perhaps a joyful Girl Scout moment. When we’re able to get together again, we look forward to celebrating Girl Scout sisterhood in person.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Molly

Refunds

My activity was canceled. Will my fee be refunded?
Yes. When events and activities are canceled, registration fees are refunded. If you paid by credit card, then the fee will be refunded to the card. If you paid by check, then a check will be issued to the person who made the payment. We process refunds as quickly as possible.

Will future events and activities be canceled?
Possibly. We continue to monitor the information from the governor’s office and the Centers for Disease Control and will make decisions about future events.

If we registered for an event and I am not comfortable with my Girl Scout attending, then can I cancel and get a refund?
We are happy to discuss concerns on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our help desk at [email protected] with your details.

Highest Awards

Please contact our help desk at [email protected] if you have questions.